When they asked all graduating seniors to record their favorite quote for the high school yearbook, I pulled one from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
Even at that moment, I refused to conform. The irony, of course, is that I used a quote to help express myself.
I still have a love/hate relationship with quotes. They are first and foremost someone else’s thoughts, and while they can motivate us, even relieve us, and sum up how we think, they can often be as cheesy as Pinterest. They make words look trapped in between a prison of quotation marks.
“Quotation marks” de-energize quotes, just as much as using them as substitutes for our own thinking de-individualizes us. Call it cynical, but we’re living in the Internet era–the world’s greatest copy-past machine– where everything can be reduced to a shared tautology.
What if, instead, we listened to ourselves rather than allowing others to validated our neuroses. Quotes are merely thought starters; even children like to originate their own opinion.